Well, Week 10 didn’t disappoint, either. Big upsets might just be the new normal for the NFL as we seem to get it weekly. With the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers doing battle tonight as Week 10 wraps up, you might be hoping for some big performance to save your week. We’ll preview tonight’s game in a minute, but first let’s look at takeaways from the rest of what we’ve seen in Week 10.
The Ravens and Buccaneers are Struggling
The Ravens began Week 10 laying an egg against the Miami Dolphins. The Ravens are still 6-3 and still leading the AFC North, but it’s becoming a cause for concern. The Ravens were beaten soundly by the Bengals in Week 7, had a bye in Week 8 and started dreadfully slow in Week 9 against the Vikings. While the Ravens came back to win in Week 9, they had no such luck in Week 10, creating something of a flat streak. The Buccaneers are in the same boat. The team suffered a loss to the Saints in Week 8 then had a bye week. Coming out of the bye, the Buccaneers figured to “get right” against Washington. Instead, Washington dominated the game, posting a 10-point win and leaving the Buccaneers with back-to-back losses and looking for answers. For both teams’ health plays a factor, and while both are still in first place this is something that bears watching as we hit the heart of the NFL season.
The Patriots are for Real
In case anyone doubted, the Patriots announced themselves as serious playoff contenders with a 45-7 dismantling of the Cleveland Browns. The Patriots are now 6-4, sitting just a half game back of the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East. In short, they’re in the perfect position to pounce down the stretch, either in the AFC East or in the Wild Card competition. Bill Belichick spent the off-season re-making this team and after a series of close losses early in the season the Patriots are rounding into form at the perfect time, using a strong defense, solid running game and timely passing from improving rookie Mac Jones.
Cam Newton is Back!
I was excited for Newton when he re-signed with the Panthers this week. He was a star for them and carried that team to a Super Bowl. His time there ended ingloriously, and it seemed nice they got a reunion. It didn’t take long for him to make an impact. P.J. Walker started the game and was fine, but Newton came in and scored a rushing touchdown then a passing touchdown on his first two plays. He had just three passes for eight yards and three carries for 14 yards, but I suspect he’ll be a starter as soon as next week. Given what we saw on Sunday in a big win in Arizona, Newton could also be a fun addition to the fantasy landscape.
And, with that, it’s on to the Monday Night game.
Monday Night Preview
The Rams are 7-2, coming off a tough loss to the Titans in Week 9. The team pushed all its chips in on 2021, trading for veteran Von Miller just before the deadline and signing Odell Beckham, Jr., this week. Turns out they will need everything they can get as Robert Woods was lost for the season Friday with a torn ACL. Hopefully you saw the news and made the needed adjustment, if not it will be slim pickings to replace him from tonight’s game.
The 49ers, meanwhile, are at a crucial point in their season. The team has put up strong efforts the past two weeks but hasn’t gotten any wins. The 49ers are sitting at 3-5 and can ill afford another loss. They are already fighting an uphill battle in the NFC West and face a crowded field competing for a Wild Card spot. The 49ers need a win to try and turn their season around. If not, it could be time to look toward rookie Trey Lance and preparing for the future.
In terms of fantasy, I like a number of options for the Rams. Matthew Stafford is a QB1 for me, while Darrell Henderson offers RB2 value and Cooper Kupp is a Top 3 option at receiver. With Woods out, I think tight end Tyler Higbee and receiver Van Jefferson tick up a bit. I don’t expect a lot of plays for OBJ in his Rams debut.
For the 49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo has been hot of late but he’s just a QB2 for me. Elijah Mitchell is the leader in the backfield and is an RB2 for me. I like Deebo Samuel among receivers, who is an automatic start. Tight end George Kittle is also a great option.
I think the Rams get back on track, moving to 8-2 with a win, but I suspect it will be close.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.